Today’s release of the Census Homeownership and Vacancy Survey shows that the homeownership rate continued to drop in 2016 Q1. However, it was the second straight quarter of year-over-year gains in the homeownership rate for Gen X'ers.

Today’s Census Homeownership and Vacancy Survey release provides optimism that the homeownership rate hit is flattening. The Census’ seasonally adjusted homeownership rate in the first quarter decreased slightly to 63.5% from 63.7%, but the change is not significantly different from a year ago.

homeownership rate 3-16

Of particular note was the continued increase in the homeownership rate for Gen X. Households aged 35-44 increased their homeownership rate a full 0.5 points, moving to 58.9% to 58.4%. This is the second straight quarter of year-over-year increases. This is important as many Gen Xers lost their homes during the recession, so this is a cautiously optimistic sign that we may be seeing boomerang buyers coming back into homeownership. Although this year-over-year change is not statistically significant, the 0.5 point increase is just at the upper bound of an error rate of 0.5 percent.

Existing Home Sales and Homeownership Highlights:

  • The ownership rate dropped slightly to 63.5% from 63.7% a year earlier, but was not a significant drop.
  • The ownership rate climbed for the second straight quarter for Gen X, moving upwards by 0.5 points.